Scammers are taking advantage of pandemic unemployment assistance programs to file fraudulent claims by using the personal information of other people, according to United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey, and Maine Commissioner of Labor Laura Fortman.
Mainers are asked to notify the Maine Department of Labor if they believe that someone has used their identity to fraudulently apply for or obtain unemployment benefits. The online complaint form is at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/
“Although perhaps not surprising, it is outrageous that criminals are capitalizing on the current emergency to file fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identity information,” said U.S. Attorney Frank. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working closely with our state and federal partners to identify and halt this criminal behavior, and to bring to justice those who commit it. We ask anyone who believes they have been the victim of unemployment fraud to report it immediately.”
With the unprecedented increase in unemployment insurance claims over the past two months due to COVID-19, many states, including Maine, are seeing an increase in reports of identity theft in applications for unemployment benefits. Victims often discover that their personal information has been stolen only when they file an application for benefits and learn that claims have already been submitted using their name and personal information.
If you believe that someone else has used your information to file a fraudulent unemployment application, please notify the Maine Department of Labor immediately at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/.
If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases, visit https://ww.identitytheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.
Additional identity theft resources can be found at https://www.maine.gov/ag/privacy/identity_theft.shtml or https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/report-identity-theft.